As I reflect back on this year, I’ve learned some things about myself. I learned that I’m not defined by any one project or milestone in life. I’m the sum of every action I’ve ever put out into this world. And that offers me great hope that yesterday doesn’t equal today and today doesn’t equal tomorrow. Every day is a fresh new start.

Typically, this time of year I write out my top 5 goals to work toward in the new year. I also reflect back on how I did with the goals from the last year, and get excited when I have them all checked. This year’s reflection will look very different, as I didn’t achieve any of the 5 goals I’d written down. Every year, the first item is Write a Novel. And every reflection session, I happily check that off and eagerly wait for release day a few months into the New Year.

A Look Back

I didn’t write a novel this year for the first time since 2003. I couldn’t bring myself to write one single word.

I did, however, release my blended romance novel, Uprooting in March 2020. The same week as the pandemic rocked our world. Needless to say, very few people read it to date. And that has gutted my writer’s soul in a very real sense. I sincerely wish I could do a redo of launch day for that story. But that’s not how it works in the literary landscape. If you haven’t read it and want to, as a thank you gift for your support in reading this post, I’m happy to send you a copy. Email me to request a copy and the ebook format you prefer.

At first glance, I took this book launch disaster as a failure. But then, as my reflective session grew, I realized how much I did accomplish this year as a result of trying to find new ways of viewing a world that had changed so much overnight.

Things I Did Right

I enrolled in graduate school and earned a 4.0 in the first class I’ve taken since 2002. I designed an entire certification course that could potentially be implemented. I renovated my entire home from ceilings to floors. I learned how to use power tools. I helped organize and run a virtual conference helping to bring together writers and readers from around the globe. With the help of my siblings, I helped teach my parents how to zoom! I helped my spouse emotionally overcome a scary sepsis illness. I gained 3 new video clients for my production company, Sunny Bee Productions. I adapted my production company to a virtual model, which allows me to work with clients anywhere in the world so long as they have an Internet connection. I joined Toastmasters International and will be competing in a speech contest in early January. I moved my Curves Welcome podcast over to its own channel. I blogged a whole bunch this year on health and wellness topics. And I thrived on the other side of those days when I spent more time crying than smiling as I worked through new emotions that erupted during these times of isolation and unknowns.

And Still…

I did a bunch of new things. But I didn’t write a novel this year…

I’m going to reread this post on March 1 when my new books usually launch to remind myself that it’s okay. There will be future books somewhere down the line. And until then, I’m going to enjoy gathering all these new experiences in order to gain a fresh view on life.

A Look Ahead

As I put my sharpie to my dry erase board to write out my goals for 2021, I will pause and cut myself some slack.

I’m going to set myself up for success by offering myself the kind gift of freedom. My goal for 2021: to learn and share.
Whatever form that takes is of no concern. I just look forward to learning and sharing.

Be kind to yourself as you reflect on 2020 and look toward 2021. And if you’re reading this, thank you for being part of my journey.